In Praise of NDP PR Jiu-Jitsu

Paul Wells on how it’s best sometimes to simply shut up and let your opponent’s own negative momentum take them down:

Harper is certain to keep portraying the NDP as the only bunch of witless ideologues in sight. In quiet moments Conservative strategists say that, if they ever tire of whacking Bob Rae, they will seek to portray the NDP as either extremist or incompetent. And indeed the newest feature on the Conservative party website is about “Mr. Mulcair’s NDP Team.

But in the Commons, it is not the NDP who have been looking like circus geeks. Tom Mulcair reads his questions from his little wooden lectern. Unlike generations of Liberals, he almost never yells up a lung in Question Period. Peggy Nash, same story. Paul Dewar, probably more methodical now than a year ago. Finally this week a New Democrat confirmed to me that this is strategy, and it is designed precisely to blunt the expected Conservative attack to the effect that only Conservatives are fit to be let near the good china. The New Democrats want to put restraint, method and diligence in their own column.

When I used to ask the Liberals, when they were the Official Opposition, why they didn’t calm down a bit in QP, they would complain that gesticulating was the only way to get on the news. And indeed the calmer New Democrats are not getting a lot of space on the news. What is getting space is Bev Oda’s global OJ adventure, Stephen Harper’s 70-year digressions, and private members’ bills that seem inspired by the Danielle Smith playbook of political success. Which may explain why the NDP does not begrudge the government its time in the spotlight.

h/t

The Real Bev Oda Scandal: Politicizing (& Corporatizing) Canadian Foreign Aid

That now-infamous taxpayer-subsidized luxury hotel switcheroo in Mother London? Small potatoes.

Don Cayo:

[A]nalysis by Fraser Reilly-King, a policy analyst at the non-profit Canadian Council for International Co-operation, shows substantial cuts to foreign aid in last month’s federal budget are aimed mainly at the same kind of underprivileged countries [that were removed from CIDA’s priority list in 2009] – the poorest places in the world. And funds for the better-off political darlings are mostly protected.

Reilly-King’s figures project, starting next year, a winnowing-away of funds for inter-national assistance from an all-time peak of $5 billion this year to $4.6 billion in 2014-15. Over the same period, the share of Gross National Income that Canada spends on aid will shrink to 0.25 per cent from 0.34 per cent, which is less than half the never-attained target set by former prime minister Lester Pearson in 1969.

Wait — it gets better:

The cuts will be felt by 13 cur-rent recipients, he says, eight of them in Africa. One of the countries to be cut off completely is China, a fully justified – if not overdue – move given its rapid economic expansion. But the others to lose out completely include Cambodia and Nepal, which are making progress but were late in catching the Asian prosperity wave, as well as dirt-poor Zambia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Niger.

Yet Ukraine – which has been a priority country for years only because of strong lobbying by Canadians of Ukrainian descent – and fast-rising, upper-middle-income Peru and Colombia are unaffected.

Other countries to duck the axe are Bangladesh, which is very poor, and Vietnam and Indonesia, which are both making rapid progress on their own. Reilly-King points out all the unaffected countries are high on the Harper government’s list of places where it wants to see stronger trade ties.

There’s brazen, and brazen — Oda, proud Harpercon that she is, certainly earns the italicization (and then some):

In an interview with my Post- media colleague Elizabeth Payne earlier this year, Oda candidly conceded that she didn’t separate at all Canadian trade and foreign policy goals from our aid policy.

She also confirmed that CIDA, which has been moving away from its well-established, long-term partnerships with trusted and respected NGOs in the field, is moving more and more to partnerships with private sector partners in the mining and agricultural sectors.

Shorter Bev Oda: Let them eat little cakes — ooh, and freshen up my OJ while you’re at it!

h/t

Related:  More from CBC’s The Current on the debate over CIDA partnerships.

Pushing Weight

After Ethical Oil is done with its proxy Zombie Joe McCarthy crusade against the David Suzuki Foundation (what, are Ezra & co. gonna put out a hit on Raffi next?), perhaps it might consider lobbying the feds to take a look at another clear example of untoward abuse of our noble charitable sector — and an obvious case of insidious foreign interference to boot (eeek!)

The Vancouver Observer:

As the Conservative assault continues against Canadian environmental charities, the Vancouver Observer has learned that since 2007, foreign oil billionaires the Koch brothers have donated over half a million dollars to the “charitable” right-wing Fraser Institute.

According to U.S. tax documents, the Fraser Institute received $150,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation in 2008, $175,500 in 2009, and another $150,000 in 2010. The grants were purportedly for “research support” and “educational programs”.

[…]

Grants to the Fraser Institute are also among the highest amounts listed in the Koch Foundation’s tax records; apart from a few substantial grants to American universities, most of the other donations were under $10,000.

Gosh.

Sounds like Fraser is swimming in enough dirty Koch money to make Tony Montana’s *other* little friend go OFF.

Related: To merely call Fraser’s ongoing registered charity status ‘dubious’ is to be *ahem* highly charitable; the OTHER 1% doctrine: 99% of registered Canadian charities are apolitical re: spending (just don’t call it an anti-enviro vendetta…)

(Image: 401K, Flickr)

Happy 30th Anniversary, Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms

According to Louise Arbour, Canada’s internationally renowned & universally lauded Charter of Rights & Freedoms (HBD, eh?) “has transformed a country obsessed with the federal-provincial division of powers and enabled it to address its diversity in a substantive, principled way.”

Gee.

No wonder Harpercon insurrectionists can’t stand the fucking thing.

On That Zombie Suzuki Resignation Story

The Globe:

Canada’s most famous environmentalist, David Suzuki, says he left the board of his charitable foundation to avoid being a lightning rod for criticism and government attacks that would undermine its work.

Still, Peter Robinson, who is the head of the David Suzuki Foundation, said the group is facing a “chill” that is leading it to pull back from important environmental debates lest it be accused by the federal government of exceeding its charitable mandate.

Is Suzuki a new, very high-profile casualty in the asymmetrical Harpercon war on non-profit environmental advocacy orgs?

Not so fast:

In fact, Suzuki’s departure from the foundation that bears his name had nothing to do with the federal government’s latest attack on charities opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline.  How do I know this?  It happened during the summer of 2011.

Oops. Not so fresh a scoop, izzit?

Look, I’m sure there will be many more prominent resignations from charitable green outfits to come in the near future; reanimating out of context zombie #elxn41 controversies is stupid.

Dueling Ledes (Compare & Contrast), Redux

AP video, Feb 15, 2011:

A recent [US] government report states the terrorist threat from Canada is greater than from Mexico, and that only 50 kilometres of the border is adequately patrolled.

CBC News, today:

Major job cuts at the Canada Border Services Agency could undermine national security and public safety, according to a security expert and public-sector union officials.

First food safety, now border security? The wanton Harpercon Budget 2012 slash ‘n’ burn austerity spree has so far made Canada a little TOO open for business. And it’s only just begun.

NDP Agriculture critic Malcolm Allen, commenting on cuts to CFIA, sums up what is shaping up to be the primary takeaway from the aftermath (thus far):

“These cuts put Canadians’ lives at risk.”

Image: conner395, Flickr. Used under CC license.

Dueling Ledes (Compare & Contrast)

TorStar, March 20th:

Schools, hospitals and popular burger restaurants such as Hero’s and Lick’s are part of a suddenly massive beef recall over fears of E. coli contamination.

The G&M, today:

Veterinarians and other inspectors responsible for food recalls and ensuring the safety of Canadian meat are among the hundreds of federal public servants who will be told this week their jobs are at risk.

Apparently the Harpercons figure it will be measurably easier to tighten our belts if our bellies have all imploded from E. coli poisoning.

Image: Vanessa Pike-Russell, Flickr. Used under CC license.

Holiday Weekend Link Round-up (Or, Yes, I WAS too lazy to write something original. Deal.)

What you should be reading this holiday weekend, in lieu of spending quality time with your family/loved ones (like yrs truly will be a little later):

– Open ass, insert head: Dave, Cathie, Dawg, pale_, jj, Peggy, and Orwell’s Bastard, on the latest iteration of ‘Progressive Bloggers [sic] journey to the centre of their colons’ (solidarity w/ DAMMIT JANET!)

– Dave Weigel continues his superlative reporting from Sanford, Fla on the killing of Travyon Martin (and more)

– Re: John Derbyshire’s modest proposal that –wait for it–Libruls R teh Real Rayyyycists (let me show you how by being extremely racist — just like teh libruls!), what TNC said:

Also see Dawg, Elspeth Reeve, Josh Barro, John Holbo, Maureen O’Connor, Rob Farley, Scott LemieuxCharles Johnson, and the readers of National Review who, contra Starburst Lowry, boldly declared en masse: ‘We are all Derbyshire‘ (doh!) Despite the strong show of solidarity from NRO’s lumpen commetariat, alas, Derb was a bit too airhorn to remain employed by an outlet where dogwhistles are industry standard. So long, and thanks for all the proud racism, rank misogyny, and generally icky douchetasticness, Derb.

– Speaking of apologists for racism (ok, so Derb is more of a cheerleader sans panties — yeesh, talk about naked enthusiasm), law prof Darren Hutchinson takes on Shelby Steele and other black conservative intellectuals who, over the years, have firmly established a cottage industry on the right flogging long-dead hobbyhorses re: civil rights and the not-so-subtle affirmation of white supremacy. No surprise said usual suspects are now concern-trolling Trayvon supporters. Also, this:

– And finally, the less said about this, the better:

Happy holidays from bastard.logic.